Learning to Say No
Can you say no without feeling guilty?
Often people say yes because it feels great - at first. You're the hero helping someone is in need.
People love that generosity. That type of giving is a special quality that becomes ingrained in how you see yourself. There is a healthy pride associated with being helpful.
It only becomes a problem when saying yes when you mean no gets to be a pattern. This can be exhausting and leave you feeling used.
I don't wanna say no!
If you'd rather keep doing it, fine. But say yes because you want to, not because you think you should. When you say yes but mean no, you are negating yourself. Secretly you resent it.
Maybe you're afraid that you won't be liked if you say no. You think that you'll be perceived as selfish. So you ignore what you want which violates your own boundaries instead.
How is that any better? If you cannot say no in your relationship something is wrong.
Hitting your limit
People don't change without effort. It takes getting sick and tired before most people are willing to do something different.
If you're known for helping out, it's a tough habit to break. Wanting to please others isn't a problem unless it's not what you really want to be doing. Then it leads to feeling resentful and invisible.
Putting others first
Excessive people pleasing is a symptom of codependency. You want to please others and be helpful because your identity is wrapped up in pleasing others. You don't know who you are without it.
By saying yes when you mean no, you're saying that someone else's needs are more important than yours. But deep down it's not working and you're not sure how to get out of it.
How to start
A healthy relationship is when both people's needs are met. Being able to say no gives you the power to take care of yourself rather than throwing yourself under the bus.
Tips on saying no:
- Give yourself permission
- Thank them for asking
- Let them know it's not going to work
- Use a really nice, apologetic tone.
- Keep it short - don't over-explain
It works! People respond well when you consider their needs - not just when you fulfill them. You don't have to be everything to everybody.
The response you get may show whether the relationship is helping or hurting you. If they cannot accept a no, there will be an adjustment period.
We teach people how to treat us so if you've never said no before, it changes the dynamic a bit. Explain that you're trying to take better care of yourself by doing things a little differently. Most people will show compassion, but if they don't, that's important information. The people in your life that accept the no are the ones you want to keep!
For more about how to say no read my blog on The Power of No.
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